Hal Horowitz

Hal has been a professional music journalist since 1994, writing predominately about country, blues, Americana, roots rock and singer/songwriter genres for a variety of publications.

Film Graphic - Tom Petty - Somewhere You Feel Free
reviews

STAFF PICKSTom Petty – Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers

By Hal Horowitz, October 19, 2021

Similar to the best documentaries, you don’t need to be a Tom Petty fan to appreciate how this film captures the creation of Wildflowers, and illuminates his character, determination and perfectionism.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRiley Downing - Start It Over

By Hal Horowitz, May 11, 2021

The debut solo album from The Deslondes member is bluesy and characteristically laid-back, coalescing different sounds into a soulful, lowdown whole. Once you’re on board with Downing's elusive, often entrancing vibe, you’ll wonder why it took a pandemic for him to hit center stage.

Album Cover - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Angel Dream 2021
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWTom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Angel Dream

By Hal Horowitz, July 2, 2021

Even Petty fans hip to the initial soundtrack will want to add this refreshed take to their collections.

Album Cover - Chase Bryant - Upbringing
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWChase Bryant - Upbringing

By Hal Horowitz, July 13, 2021

Kudos to Bryant for overcoming his psychological obstacles to craft his sturdy, if a little cliched, of Upbringing.

Album - Nathaniel Rateliff - The Future | Stax (2021)
reviews

STAFF PICKSNathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - The Future

By Hal Horowitz, November 1, 2021

The Future effectively combines provocative lyrics married to the Sweats’ trademarked attack; one that’s successful, even triumphant, and paves the way for more of the same in forthcoming endeavors.

Murder By Death - Spell/Bound Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMurder By Death - Spell / Bound

By Hal Horowitz, July 25, 2022

MBD’s latest nine-song opus is moderately more cohesive and, dare we say, accessible than some of their previous work.

Holler Country Music
reviews

STAFF PICKSLord Huron - Long Lost

By Hal Horowitz, May 19, 2021

Relish in this sumptuous look back into an Americana that may have never existed other than in the mind of Ben Schneider.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Weight Band - Shines Like Gold

By Hal Horowitz, March 28, 2022

While there is no denying the musical parallels between TWB and their inspiration, The Band, the bulk of Shines Like Gold’s rugged Americana exudes enough unique qualities to show they can rest on their own merits.

Album - John Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band - Leftover Feelings
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJohn Hiatt with The Jerry Douglas Band - Leftover Feelings

By Hal Horowitz, May 20, 2021

It’s a classy, frequently moving, always provocative collaboration and one of Hiatt’s finest efforts which, considering his extensive catalog, is saying plenty.

The Rave-Ups - Tomorrow
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Rave-Ups - Tomorrow

By Hal Horowitz, January 31, 2022

Over 30 years after their split, the presciently titled new album from The Rave-Ups is a rousing return.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWKris Kristofferson – Live at Gilley’s, Pasadena, TX: September 15th, 1981

By Hal Horowitz, August 31, 2022

A performance that captures a historically significant, ragged but right moment from one of country music’s most renowned figures.

Nicole Atkins - Memphis Ice Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWNicole Atkins - Memphis Ice

By Hal Horowitz, December 6, 2021

Even if Nicole Atkins’ name is unfamiliar, Memphis Ice shows her to be a superlative talent just waiting for the world to acknowledge her gifts.

Charley Crockett - Music City USA
reviews

STAFF PICKSCharley Crockett - Music City USA

By Hal Horowitz, September 14, 2021

It’s tricky to pick one singular track to return to after the 50-minute album is complete. It’s once again an all-killer-no-filler album, Crockett keeping up his extraordinary run of matching quantity with quality, all garnished with an endearing, “aw-shucks” vibe.

Steve Dawson - Gone, Long Gone
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSteve Dawson - Gone, Long Gone

By Hal Horowitz, March 18, 2022

The delightful Gone, Long Gone should finally put Dawson on the popular radar, establishing him as the major talent he is. But if not, he will keep plugging away, juggling a variety of hats and contributing to music with his subtle, understated touch.

Album - Drive By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera
reviews

COUNTRY CLASSICSDrive-By Truckers - Southern Rock Opera

By Hal Horowitz, September 25, 2021

There is never a moment throughout this saga when the playing, singing and vocals feel anything less than earthy, honest and pure. That’s quite an accomplishment for this expansive hour and a half listen, particularly one where lyrics are so crucial to its enjoyment.

Holler Country Music
reviews

STAFF PICKSHiss Golden Messenger - Quietly Blowing It

By Hal Horowitz, June 21, 2021

This release feels like the beginning of a confident new phase for M.C. Taylor - and might herald that for the music world in general too.

Album - Travis Tritt - Set In Stone
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWTravis Tritt - Set In Stone

By Hal Horowitz, May 5, 2021

The singer’s confident voice and diversity in material display how much we’ve missed his presence in country music. It’s delightful to hear that he hasn’t lost a step.

Rodney Crowell - Triage
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRodney Crowell - Triage

By Hal Horowitz, July 20, 2021

It takes a brave artist to admit “If I’d known what I know a long time ago /I might have made of my life something more”. When it comes to Rodney Crowell, many would disagree; the intimate and often hypnotic Triage shows that he still has lots more to give.

Album - Jake Shimabukuro - Jake & Friends
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJake Shimabukuro - Jake & Friends

By Hal Horowitz, November 8, 2021

Jake Shimabukuro welcomes guest stars including Willie Nelson, Billy Strings, Bette Middler and more for this eclectic set of covers.

Holler Country Music
reviews

STAFF PICKSJoshua Hedley - Neon Blue

By Hal Horowitz, April 18, 2022

A crash course in pure country from one of the music university’s finest and most knowledgeable professors.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWHiss Golden Messenger - O Come All Ye Faithful

By Hal Horowitz, December 12, 2021

It might not be the festive soundtrack you'll be merrily shopping along to this Christmas, but this record is certainly a distinct and unique entry into a genre overrun with less memorable and provocative fare.

Israel Nash - Topaz
reviews

STAFF PICKSIsrael Nash - Topaz

By Hal Horowitz, March 12, 2021

There aren’t many artists talented enough to pull off a concept this uniquely creative and idiosyncratic without a hint of pretension. But Israel Nash has honed this territory for a while. The result is an immaculately constructed, filmic album that’s both expansive yet personal.

Album Cover - Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming

By Hal Horowitz, August 17, 2021

It’s obvious that Sierra Ferrell is a refreshingly original talent on the roots music landscape; one who’s revealed just a sampling of her gifts on this confident and uncompromising initial studio set.

Rett Smith - What The Walls Cannot See Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRett Smith - What The Walls Cannot See

By Hal Horowitz, October 26, 2021

Only the frustratingly brief length of the program prevents this from showcasing the full extent of a relatively new talent, one who has his finger on the pulse of the darkest edge of Americana and his own psyche.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWCalexico - El Mirador

By Hal Horowitz, April 5, 2022

El Mirador is one of Calexico's most cohesive projects; a flavorful entrée that captures much of the secret sauce the band has served atop its spicy, sonic platter for so many years.

Rhiannon Giddens - They're Calling Me Home
reviews

STAFF PICKSRhiannon Giddens - They're Calling Me Home

By Hal Horowitz, April 9, 2021

Rhiannon Giddens doesn’t need much time or supporting instrumentation to create fervently moving art. Even though the stripped-down qualities of They’re Calling Me Home are the result of the pandemic, they yield some of the most stirring music you’re likely to hear, this year or any other.

Artwork - The Marfa Tapes
reviews

STAFF PICKSJack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall - The Marfa Tapes

By Hal Horowitz, May 4, 2021

The Marfa Tapes is the rawest – and some might say most real - recording you’ll get from this trio - and it's all the better for it. Its unembellished sound and scruffy methodology is a quality we don’t have enough of in today’s often excessively tweaked and overly polished fare.

Album - Sean Rowe - The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSean Rowe - The Darkness Dressed in Colored Lights

By Hal Horowitz, October 4, 2021

Between his earnest rumble of a voice, lyrics so genuine they can’t be fiction and the no frills production, these musical sketches bring us closer to connecting with Sean Rowe from a place total vulnerability. 

Album - Adia Victoria - A Southern Gothic
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAdia Victoria - A Southern Gothic

By Hal Horowitz, September 16, 2021

Victoria has crafted a serious, often unrelenting and potent collection in A Southern Gothic - a powerful, searing work that pulses with the heartbeat of the American South.

Album Cover - The Flatlanders - Treasure of Love
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Flatlanders - Treasure of Love

By Hal Horowitz, July 7, 2021

While it may not be The Flatlanders at the top of their game, any fan of pure Texas country will find lots to relish on this collection. The tunes are terrific and it remains a treat to hear these troupers clearly having fun working at this late stage in their lives.

David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name (50th Anniversary Edition) Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWDavid Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name (50th Anniversary Edition)

By Hal Horowitz, October 11, 2021

Many believe that the best art emerges from times of psychological struggle and/or philosophical unrest. That was the case in late 1970, when David Crosby recorded his first solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name.

The Band - Cahoots (50th Anniversary Edition) Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Band - Cahoots (50th Anniversary Edition)

By Hal Horowitz, December 6, 2021

Experiencing this wonderful revitalization of Cahoots should spark renewed interest in what remains one of The Band’s still worthy efforts.

Jade Bird - Different Kinds of Light
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJade Bird - Different Kinds of Light

By Hal Horowitz, August 9, 2021

Jade Bird is just 23 and has two impressive records to her name. From the direction of Different Kinds of Light, her future could be about to take flight.

Album - Natalie Hemby - Pins and Needles
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWNatalie Hemby - Pins and Needles

By Hal Horowitz, October 8, 2021

Pins and Needles sounds professional and pleasant, however the smoothed over, unruffled 70s-styled production strips many of these selections of the impact their smartly written lyrics deserve.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWGraham Nash - Live: Songs for Beginners / Wild Tales

By Hal Horowitz, May 2, 2022

Even though this live record might sell tickets, it’s hard to recommend these readings over the classic versions that retain their modest yet earnest emotional punch.

Ashley McBryde - Presents: Lindeville Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAshley McBryde - Presents: Lindeville

By Hal Horowitz, September 27, 2022

What’s here is creative, well-written, professionally played country, but the nine originals barely break a half hour.

Album - Taylor McCall - Black Powder Soul
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWTaylor McCall - Black Powder Soul

By Hal Horowitz, September 22, 2021

Listeners who gravitate to the darker fringe of the genre will find plenty to chew on in this stunningly intense album that takes no prisoners, often detonating as if ignited by the explosive titular element.

Amanda Shires - For Christmas Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAmanda Shires - For Christmas

By Hal Horowitz, December 13, 2021

It may not be everyone’s hot toddy, yet For Christmas is a unique collection that balances conflicting emotions many have about the season; some, but not all of them, merry and bright.

John Moreland - Birds In The Ceiling Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJohn Moreland - Birds In The Ceiling

By Hal Horowitz, July 18, 2022

There are multiple truths, uncertainties and life revelations infused in these tracks, all underscored by Moreland’s honesty and artistry.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAvi Kaplan - Floating on a Dream

By Hal Horowitz, May 16, 2022

Avi Kaplan's debut full-length introduces a compelling, convincing and emotional singer whose mellifluous baritone is as gripping as any instrument.

Amythyst Kiah - Wary + Strange Album Cover
reviews

STAFF PICKSAmythyst Kiah - Wary + Strange

By Hal Horowitz, June 15, 2021

For Staff Picks, we share with you our favourite new releases that you need to listen to. This week, it's Amythyst Kiah's Wary + Strange - a mesmerizing, frequently hypnotic and always challenging work.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Everly Brothers - Hey Doll Baby

By Hal Horowitz, April 19, 2022

No matter how often you have heard some of the popular tracks included here, they never seem dated or passé. It’s impossible to compare this unique, enduring music to any other act of their time or later.

Sara Watkins - Under The Pepper Tree
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSara Watkins - Under The Pepper Tree

By Hal Horowitz, March 26, 2021

Even if this leans to pop more than the country or bluegrass she is best known for, Watkins’ affection for this collection of children's songs is obvious. She successfully crafts an album adults can enjoy, just as much as their little ones; maybe even more so. 

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWM. Ward - Think of Spring

By Hal Horowitz, December 18, 2020

Leave it to M. Ward to release one of the most downbeat and melancholy albums of his career - just in time for the Christmas season.

The Cactus Blossoms - One Day Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Cactus Blossoms - One Day

By Hal Horowitz, February 7, 2022

The Blossoms’ natural minimalism - combined with Torrey and Burkum’s transcendent voices - make One Day an early contender for Americana album of the year.

Holler Country Music
lists

ESSENTIALSThe Best James Taylor Songs

By Hal Horowitz, August 2, 2022

15 of James Taylor's most popular, and arguably best, recordings; ones many think of when hearing his mellifluous voice and charming, timeless performances.

Album Cover - The Wandering Hearts - The Wandering Hearts
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Wandering Hearts - The Wandering Hearts

By Hal Horowitz, August 3, 2021

Anyone expecting a sophomore slump will be encouraged to learn that even with one member down, the group has solidified - and even amplified - the wonderful harmonies and memorable melodies that worked so effectively the first time out.

Holler Country Music
lists

ESSENTIALSThe Best Glen Campbell Songs

By Hal Horowitz, August 31, 2022

A list of some of Campbell's best hits from throughout his prolific six-decade career – providing just a taste of his expansive catalog.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBonnie Raitt - Just Like That...

By Hal Horowitz, April 20, 2022

Diverse, expertly crafted and resilient - with Just Like That..., it's clear that veteran Bonnie Raitt is nowhere near running out of gas.

Rev Peyton - Dance Songs For Hard Times
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRev. Peyton's Big Damn Band - Dance Songs For Hard Times

By Hal Horowitz, April 9, 2021

Dance Songs for Hard Times is high-spirited, rambunctious roots music and a soundtrack to help dance away the blues - pandemic or otherwise.

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers - Nightroamer Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSarah Shook & The Disarmers - Nightroamer

By Hal Horowitz, February 14, 2022

The impressive Nightroamer is a logical step in a career arc that has never given in to commercial concerns.

Album - Gov't Mule - Heavy Load Blues
reviews

STAFF PICKSGov't Mule - Heavy Load Blues

By Hal Horowitz, November 7, 2021

If this sidetrack sends some of Gov’t Mules’ harder-rocking fans back to hear the originals - while tempting them with new music - it has done its job.

Connie Smith - The Cry of the Heart Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWConnie Smith - The Cry of the Heart

By Hal Horowitz, August 20, 2021

Marty Stuart should be praised for his production of the project, but on the enthralling The Cry of the Heart, Connie Smith shows that she remains a vibrant and convincing presence. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another decade for number 55.

Holler Country Music
reviews

COUNTRY CLASSICSGram Parsons - Grievous Angel

By Hal Horowitz, January 10, 2022

Grievous Angel is an extraordinary entry in the limited Gram Parsons catalog; a true milestone of Americana - or, more aptly, cosmic American music.

The Pink Stones - Introducing... The Pink Stones
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Pink Stones - Introducing... The Pink Stones

By Hal Horowitz, April 8, 2021

There's a depth of honesty, sensitivity and integrity to Introducing... The Pink Stones that few debut releases have the capacity or courage to display. The Pink Stones aren’t trying to reinvent the cosmic American music wheel, just get behind it and drive for a while. Come along and enjoy the ride.

Whiskey Myers - Tornillo Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWWhiskey Myers - Tornillo

By Hal Horowitz, July 25, 2022

With Tornillo, the band push the limited borders of Southern Rock wider with creativity and faith in their own substantial talents.

Jim Lauderdale - Game Changer Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJim Lauderdale - Game Changer

By Hal Horowitz, August 22, 2022

Just maybe, after nearly three dozen tries, this one is the game changer Jim Lauderdale has been working towards. It deserves to be.

Album - Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - A Few Stars Apart
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWLukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - A Few Stars Apart

By Hal Horowitz, June 8, 2021

While the laid-back nature of it could use more of the energy exhibited on much of his other work, it demonstrates that slowing down to reevaluate your life, whether you planned to or not, is time well spent.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWErin Rae - Lighten Up

By Hal Horowitz, February 4, 2022

A superb and mesmerizing next step in Erin Rae's promising career.

Eli Paperboy Reed - Down Every Road Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWEli Paperboy Reed - Down Every Road: Eli Paperboy Reed Sings Merle Haggard

By Hal Horowitz, April 25, 2022

Hopefully, we don’t have to wait for another pandemic to hear a follow-up - Haggard’s rich catalog is ripe for such interesting reinterpretation.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBenjamin Tod - Songs I Swore I'd Never Sing

By Hal Horowitz, September 26, 2022

Raw, revealing and often riveting - but not for the faint of heart.

Album - Carolyn Wonderland - Tempting Fate
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWCarolyn Wonderland - Tempting Fate

By Hal Horowitz, October 4, 2021

The years of Carolyn Wonderland being a well-kept secret are about to end.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBanditos - Right On

By Hal Horowitz, May 23, 2022

This relatively sharp break in the Banditos’ sound breathes fresh life into an outfit outfit looking to expand boundaries while maintaining its core musical mojo.

Mariel Buckley - Everywhere I Used To Be Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMariel Buckley - Everywhere I Used To Be

By Hal Horowitz, August 8, 2022

This is a major step forward for Buckley; her palpable confidence in her talent, along with some hypnotic melodies, is on track to make her a significant alt-country/Americana presence.

Album - Jesper Lindell - Twilights Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJesper Lindell - Twilights

By Hal Horowitz, March 16, 2022

Lindell’s songs, confidence and poised phrasing make him a promising young talent, one whose best work is still ahead of him.

Album - Shannon McNally - The Waylon Sessions
reviews

STAFF PICKSShannon McNally - The Waylon Sessions

By Hal Horowitz, May 26, 2021

It comes as little surprise that McNally has finally got around to honoring Jennings with a disc dedicated to highlights and a few obscurities from his catalog.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWPaul Cauthen - Country Coming Down

By Hal Horowitz, March 28, 2022

It’s safe to assume that most have never heard anything in country, or in any other genre for that matter, quite like Country Coming Down.

Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts

By Hal Horowitz, November 15, 2021

This is a sweat-soaked gig that will make even the most skeptical observer surely appreciative of Springsteen’s talents as a potent writer, player, singer, bandleader and especially performer.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWCrosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Déjà Vu (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

By Hal Horowitz, May 14, 2021

This is classy and complete. It’s likely the last word on how the disparate musical and personal threads of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were woven, creating the uneven yet tremendously successful and often musically spellbinding tapestry of Déjà Vu.

Keb' Mo' - Good To Be Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWKeb' Mo' - Good to Be

By Hal Horowitz, January 7, 2022

As its title implies, Good to Be is geared to make you forget your problems. What’s a shame is that, bar functioning as agreeable background music, it rarely offers more.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWWillie Nelson - That's Life

By Hal Horowitz, February 26, 2021

There aren’t many surprises on That's Life, but that’s unimportant. Nelson’s in terrific voice, he clearly loves the material and delivers each of the eleven Frank Sinatra cover tracks with beautifully nuanced authenticity.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMavis Staples and Levon Helm - Carry Me Home

By Hal Horowitz, May 16, 2022

Fans of Staples and Helm will be thrilled with this magical, professionally recorded and mixed concert, hidden away for over a decade, that puts us right at the heart of the 2011 action.

Eliza Gilkyson - Songs from the River Wind Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWEliza Gilkyson - Song from the River Wind

By Hal Horowitz, January 10, 2022

This is pure, unaffected music, crafted to perfection by a veteran Americana artist thoroughly at peace with her recent move to a less cosmopolitan, more rustic environment.

Album - Asleep at the Wheel - Half a Hundred Years
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAsleep at the Wheel - Half a Hundred Years

By Hal Horowitz, September 28, 2021

The 19-track, hour playing time zips along with so much enthusiasm that it feels half as long. Even though it’s a bit of a mish-mash of re-recorded Asleep material with new songs, Half a Hundred Years is a constantly delightful recording that never takes itself too seriously.

Luke Winslow-King - If These Walls Could Talk Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWLuke Winslow-King - If These Walls Could Talk

By Hal Horowitz, May 2, 2022

King has found his niche in a feelgood sound that succeeds due to his aw-shucks personality, along with a homespun style that paves the way for further evolution in a still young and promising career.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMichaela Anne – Oh To Be That Free

By Hal Horowitz, June 8, 2022

Some singer-songwriters hide their emotions behind the characters in their songs; Nashville resident Michaela Anne is not one of them. This set digs deeper into the almost wincingly intimate issues she comes to terms with on these eleven shimmering folk pop pieces.

Album - The Band - Stage Fright
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Band - Stage Fright (50th Anniversary Edition)

By Hal Horowitz, February 12, 2021

How great were The Band? Great enough to craft ten remarkable songs that remain moving and often exhilarating, even under trying and some might say demanding circumstances.

Album - Morgan Wade - Reckless
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMorgan Wade - Reckless

By Hal Horowitz, March 19, 2021

Reckless is an impressive initial showcase for a relatively new artist laying out her voice, personality and affecting lyrics for the world to hear. It’s still early in 2021, but this is likely to be one of the year’s top country debuts.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWParker Millsap - Be Here Instead

By Hal Horowitz, April 9, 2021

Every talented musician needs to grow and mature. That’s what Parker Millsap effectively does on Be Here Instead, his shot to attract a larger audience while preserving the organic qualities that have served him well to this point.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBlackberry Smoke - You Hear Georgia

By Hal Horowitz, May 25, 2021

With You Hear Georgia, Blackberry Smoke’s tried and true approach feels as potent now as it did when they started down their long career path 20 years ago.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWPeter Rowan - Calling You From My Mountain

By Hal Horowitz, June 21, 2022

Coloring within bluegrass’s established outline, Calling You From My Mountain is another classy, beautifully crafted addition to a catalog and 60-plus-year career that’s as impressive as any in roots Americana.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEW49 Winchester - Fortune Favors the Bold

By Hal Horowitz, May 9, 2022

Even if the small-town concepts expressed on Fortune Favors the Bold have been heard before, authentic lyrics and the band's warm southern country rock make them fresh - and even inspiring.

Johnny Cash - Bear's Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash at the Carousel Ballroom, April 24 1968 - Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBear’s Sonic Journals: Johnny Cash – At the Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968

By Hal Horowitz, October 26, 2021

This record captures Cash in a transitory stretch - not yet lauded as the spokesperson for the downtrodden and a progenitor of the “outlaw” sound, but rather a talented country musician plying his trade on the road.

Album Cover - Jackson Browne - Downhill From Everywhere
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJackson Browne - Downhill From Everywhere

By Hal Horowitz, July 22, 2021

This late-in-life entry to a stunning near five-decade catalog is as warm, lyrically articulate and musically compelling as any Jackson Browne has recorded.

Album - North Mississippi Allstars - Set Sail
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWNorth Mississippi Allstars - Set Sail

By Hal Horowitz, January 24, 2022

On the joyous and stirring Set Sail, the Allstars deliver a confident, captivating, enthusiastic vibe which sticks after the first spin.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWHackensaw Boys - Hackensaw Boys

By Hal Horowitz, June 20, 2022

The vulnerability in the lyrics and music of the Hackensaw Boys' new release feels honest and natural - a refreshing way to propel the band forward into their third decade.

Album - Legendary Shack Shakers - Cockadoodledeux
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWLegendary Shack Shakers - Cockadoodledeux

By Hal Horowitz, November 1, 2021

For this Shack Shakers edition, J.D. Wilkes shifts to high octane country swing, mashing Commander Cody and Asleep at the Wheel’s trademarked Texas soufflé with good natured honky-tonk.

Ray Charles
lists

GUIDEA Guide To: Ray Charles' Country Songs

By Hal Horowitz, September 8, 2021

To celebrate his induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame and forthcoming True Genius collection, we looked back at 10 examples of Ray Charles’ finest and most influential country performances - just a small sampling of his work in the genre.

Album - Yola - Stand for Myself
reviews

STAFF PICKSYola - Stand for Myself

By Hal Horowitz, July 26, 2021

Relish in one of contemporary music’s most dynamic voices at the peak of her songwriting powers and soul saturated vocal intensity.

Aoife O'Donovan - Age Of Apathy
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAoife O' Donovan - Age of Apathy

By Hal Horowitz, January 17, 2022

O’Donovan, while clearly a disciple of others that paved the paths taken here, has created a provocative, moving and distinctive work all of her own.

Album: Dale Watson - Presents: The Memphians
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWDale Watson - Presents: The Memphians

By Hal Horowitz, February 26, 2021

Watson's spirited, affectionate work on Presents: The Memphians may only be a side trip in an extensive career, but it further confirms his love of a genre he will never abandon.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWShovels & Rope - Manticore

By Hal Horowitz, February 14, 2022

Shovels & Rope showcase yet more sonic evolution on this complex, heartfelt collection.

Dion - Stomping Ground Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWDion - Stomping Ground

By Hal Horowitz, November 15, 2021

Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton and friends join the 82-year-old doo-wop icon for this rapturous bluesy collection.

Album - Jason Isbell - Georgia Blue
reviews

STAFF PICKSJason Isbell - Georgia Blue

By Hal Horowitz, October 12, 2021

Joined by a handful of like-minded musicians, 'Georgia Blue' sees Isbell cover a selection of songs by Georgia-hailing artists. It's a delightfully loose, expertly played and above all sincere 13-track set that checks every box for a project of this kind.

Album Cover - Leah Blevins - First Time Feeling
reviews

STAFF PICKSLeah Blevins - First Time Feeling

By Hal Horowitz, August 10, 2021

It won’t take long to realize that with First Time Feeling, singer/songwriter Leah Blevins has released one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJack Broadbent - Ride

By Hal Horowitz, April 6, 2022

UK bluesman Jack Broadbent's most rugged and powerful performance to date.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSteve Poltz - Stardust & Satellites

By Hal Horowitz, February 16, 2022

A wonderfully energized, often joyful and wryly provocative release from the charismatic Steve Poltz

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSt. Paul & The Broken Bones - The Alien Coast

By Hal Horowitz, January 24, 2022

With The Alient Coast, St Paul & The Broken Bones have created audacious, unexpectedly experimental music that is daring and adventurous, in an era where repetition is too often the norm.

Dwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. Album Cover
reviews

COUNTRY CLASSICSDwight Yoakam - Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.

By Hal Horowitz, August 19, 2021

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this debut. Not only did it introduce Yoakam as a fledgling yet seasoned talent with a voice that comes along once in a generation, but it presented pure country, amplified and energized, to a new, younger audience.

Pokey LaFarge - In The Blossom of Their Shade Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWPokey LaFarge - In the Blossom of Their Shade

By Hal Horowitz, October 12, 2021

In the Blossom of Their Shade will make you forget about the frustrations of the last year and a half - at least for 40 minutes - and is a wonderful way to get acquainted with LaFarge’s unique, diverse and delightfully idiosyncratic musical personality.

Waylon Jennings
lists

ESSENTIALSThe Best Waylon Jennings Songs

By Hal Horowitz, July 29, 2022

Jennings exuded the rebellious swagger that defined the darker, edgier style of country he spearheaded in the 70s. Here are 20 examples of the icon at his most potent.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJudy Collins - Spellbound

By Hal Horowitz, February 21, 2022

Collins' shimmering melodies and gloriously penned poetry create a passionate work ranking as one of her finest creations.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBarry Gibb - Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1

By Hal Horowitz, January 8, 2021

The theory is enticing, but Greenfields is frustratingly a missed opportunity to breathe fresh life into Gibb’s music.

Home In This World: Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWHome in This World: Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads

By Hal Horowitz, September 8, 2021

These interpretations replicate the timeless qualities all great work exudes. The artists breathe new life and fresh inspiration into material whose words and melodies haven’t lost an ounce of their powerful intensity, regardless of the style they are replicated in.

Jake La Botz - Hair On Fire Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJake La Botz - Hair On Fire

By Hal Horowitz, September 6, 2022

What La Botz does well though is he infuses darker concepts into the songs so they feel fresh; inspired and full of the wit and wisdom of an artist waiting for the public to catch up to him.

Album - The Wallflowers - Exit Wounds
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Wallflowers - Exit Wounds

By Hal Horowitz, July 6, 2021

Since releasing two stripped-down solo efforts in 2008 and 2010, then returning to his band for 2012’s Glad All Over, it’s been radio silence in Jakob Dylan’s career. That puts this new Wallflowers set, arriving nearly a decade later, squarely into comeback territory.

Artwork - Jimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird - These 13
reviews

STAFF PICKSJimbo Mathus & Andrew Bird - These 13

By Hal Horowitz, March 5, 2021

The duo plainly love this music, but instead of just covering musty classics, have crafted new songs every bit as genuine.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWDrive-By Truckers - Welcome 2 Club XIII

By Hal Horowitz, May 30, 2022

Drive-By Truckers flip back the calendar to muse on their origins on this smart, literate, grounded and musically creative 9-song set.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWBrennen Leigh ft. Asleep at the Wheel - Obsessed with the West

By Hal Horowitz, May 4, 2022

The purity and spirited personality Brennen Leigh projects, her obvious adulation of the genre’s history and of course stellar support from Asleep at the Wheel on Obsessed with the West creates a set that is a consistent delight.

Album - Kiely Connell - Calumet Queen
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWKiely Connell - Calumet Queen

By Hal Horowitz, November 8, 2021

Kiely Connell may be a newcomer now, but based on this striking recording, she won’t be for long.

Album - Joy Oladokun - in defense of my own happiness
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJoy Oladokun - in defense of my own happiness

By Hal Horowitz, June 2, 2021

It’s an impressive introduction - a balancing act that keeps one foot in deep, dark impressions while the other stands within enough commerciality to attract newcomers to Oladokun's sound.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWThe Cadillac Three - COUNTRY FUZZ

By Hal Horowitz, December 18, 2020

On the genre bending COUNTRY FUZZ, The Cadillac Three dispense with anyone’s idea of what they should sound like and instead march to the beat of their own drum.

Sam Outlaw - Popular Mechanics Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWSam Outlaw - Popular Mechanics

By Hal Horowitz, November 8, 2021

Whether he continues releasing this overtly dated music is unclear. However, those who have previously jumped on Sam Outlaw’s chugging Americana train will want to sample his newfound course before hanging on for this unforeseen trip back in time.

The Whitmore Sisters - Ghost Stories
reviews

STAFF PICKSThe Whitmore Sisters - Ghost Stories

By Hal Horowitz, January 19, 2022

The key to the album’s success is not just the wonderful, beautifully crafted songwriting or even the Whitmore Sisters’ stunning vocals. Rather, it’s the years the duo spent honing their craft alone before realising that together, they shared the final piece of the wonderful puzzle.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRichie Furay - In the Country

By Hal Horowitz, July 4, 2022

Give Furay credit for remaining in the game at this late stage. But it’s not too much to expect something more substantial, original and compelling from a guy with a standing in Americana history as impressive as his.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWAmerican Aquarium – Chicamacomico

By Hal Horowitz, June 6, 2022

Now that the fun of Slappers, Bangers and Certified Twangers is out of his system BJ Barham returns to his heavier introspective impulses on these ten contemplative tunes.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWWillie Nelson - A Beautiful Time

By Hal Horowitz, April 26, 2022

His windswept voice that cracks and strains displays the wear and tear of decades. But that just makes these performances reverberate with the truths Willie Nelson wants to communicate.

Album - James McMurty - The Horses and the Hounds
reviews

STAFF PICKSJames McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds

By Hal Horowitz, August 16, 2021

James McMurtry has always been one of Americana’s finest artists, but with The Horses and the Hounds, he even bests his previous work for an album undoubtedly on the shortlist as one of 2021’s finest. 

Watkins Family Hour - Vol.II Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWWatkins Family Hour - Volume II

By Hal Horowitz, August 15, 2022

While a few more upbeat inclusions would have aided the flow, each track is beautifully, and occasionally radically, rearranged for optimum simplicity and effect. Here's Holler's album review of 'Vol.II'.

Corb Lund - Songs My Friends Wrote Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWCorb Lund - Songs My Friends Wrote

By Hal Horowitz, April 25, 2022

With 'Songs My Friends Wrote', Lund unearths, dusts off and revives lost should-have-been classics.

Album - Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers - Ramble in Music City
reviews

STAFF PICKSEmmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers - Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert

By Hal Horowitz, September 1, 2021

A stunning live recording that helps solidify the importance of the three-year stint of the Nash Ramblers, adding another notch to Harris’ impressive belt that every Emmylou enthusiast - and even those that aren’t - will treasure.

Holler Country Music
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWJewel - Freewheelin' Woman

By Hal Horowitz, March 29, 2022

There is a better album lurking under the surface of Freewheelin’ Woman struggling to get out. But after the extended wait for new music from someone as talented as Jewel, it’s a disappointment.

Arlo McKinley - This Mess We're In Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWArlo McKinley - This Mess We're In

By Hal Horowitz, July 11, 2022

Even though this doesn’t break new sonic ground, it’s proof that Arlo McKinley is a talent who’s in it for the long haul.

Album Cover: The Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East
reviews

COUNTRY CLASSICSThe Allman Brothers Band - At Fillmore East

By Hal Horowitz, June 30, 2021

We reflect on this iconic album for its 50th anniversary, taking a look back at the story of the band's live recording at New York City's iconic Fillmore East.

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway - Crooked Tree Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWMolly Tuttle & Golden Highway - Crooked Tree

By Hal Horowitz, March 28, 2022

Molly Tuttle isn’t trying to reinvent the bluegrass blueprint here, but rather stake her claim as a talented songwriter who loves the music and respects its traditions. It results in her finest album to date.

Ray Wylie Hubbard - Co-Starring Too Album Cover
reviews

ALBUM REVIEWRay Wylie Hubbard - Co-Starring Too

By Hal Horowitz, March 16, 2022

These tunes display the journeyman’s ability to pen music bathed in working-class grit and honed by decades of experience, music that would connect just as powerfully without the stellar assistance.